What Is The Definition Of Rap?

What Is The Definition Of Rap?

Rap is inextricably related to West African oral tradition. West African griots were major fixtures in African villages, telling rhythmic tales over djembe drums while entertaining and informing their fellow people.

As members of the African diaspora were scattered by the transcontinental slave trade, they transported that heritage to the coasts of the West Indies and the Southern United States.

Many of the euphoric, semi-religious "ring shouts" done by enslaved Africans in New Orleans, Mississippi, and the West Indies may be traced back to the ecstatic, semi-religious "ring shouts" performed by emcees standing in a circle "spitting" rhymes. Other African American oral styles that influenced rap include schoolyard chants and taunts (known as "the dozens"), clapping games, jump rope rhymes, Muhammad Ali's poetry, Rudy Ray Moore's rhyming boasts, jazz scatting, and the extended talking monologues of soul musicians Isaac Hayes and Lou Rawls. All of these were rhythmic forms of vocal expression that existed before rap.

Some believe that rap is a continuation of the blues tradition, in which the blues singer entertains you with a fascinating tale. The blues is founded in plantation songs and Negro spirituals and is inspired by West African musical traditions, both musically and structurally.

Langston Hughes, an African American poet, and writer transformed the meter and rhythms of the blues genre into his own style of poetry. Much later, acolytes of Langston Hughes sought to transfer the predominantly instrumental rhythms of jazz music into spoken word.

Poets like New Orleans' Bob Kaufman blended jazz's spontaneous bop prosody with rhythmic patterns of speech, producing a new and fascinating kind of improvisational poetry. Later, poets and performers such as Gil Scott-Heron and the Last Poets expanded on the rhythmic links between jazz, poetry, and performance.

Many rappers, including Chuck D of Public Enemy, credit Heron and the last poets as major influences. Jazz, which emerged around the turn of the twentieth century from the blues and other African American and European musical traditions, has so impacted and been considered as a forerunner to hip hop.